Horse Emergency Information and Care Giving
by Debora Johnson
It is really important to have emergency information on your horse readily available. My husband and I have my horses boarded at a wonderful private home. In the barn there is a bulletin board that has listed all of the pertinent information that would be needed in an emergency for both Rusty and A Patchy. I have given Kate a written letter that gives her total decision making power for both our horses if we are unable to be reached. My husband and I completely trust her judgment. The following is the information that we have available at the barn:
- Our cell phone numbers.
- Our home telephone number.
- The veterinarian's number.
- I contact the vet before we leave and make sure that they have, in the computer, authorization giving Kate full decision making authority, including euthanasia. We also tell them that full responsibility for payment is ours. They have our credit card on file and know that we pay immediately.
- The veterinarian's emergency, after hours number.
- The farrier's cell number and home number. We contact our farrier to let him know that we are leaving and Kate will have full decision making authority. My farrier and I have been together for more than 25 years so payment is not an issue.
- We have a file on each horse that gives full medical history.
- Kate has instructions outlining parameters for the need for surgery or not. For example, we will not do surgery for a twisted gut. Euthanasia may be necessary.
- We have given financial parameters, as well.
- Prognosis and time are important to us. We do not own your own land and pay board. Recovery and soundness are certainly part of the decision making process.
- We always leave a signed letter before we leave, although a permanent one is on file in the vet's office. Kate, of course, has the original.
- Our horses are not insured, but if yours are, make sure the care giver has all the insurance information and understands the policy restrictions.
- Make sure all the necessary telephone numbers are readily available for precertification for care.
- Most policies require the insurer be notified before any medical care is given.
- Make sure that feed, medical, supplements, turnout, stalling, and other routines are written down. Often, this is posted on the stall door.
- Grooming habits should be written down for each horse.
- Horse vices should be written down for the care giver to ensure safety for both care giver and horse. Often, this is posted on the stall door.
- If a care giver is involved, each horses's bad habits such as biting or kicking should be written down and discussed to protect the care giver. Often times this is posted on the stall door.
- If a care giver is involved, instructions for cleaning an automatic watering system should be shown as well as written down.
- Impress upon the care giver that gates must be latched and feed storage areas must be secured.
- A picture of each horse should be posted on the stall door. A care giver, unfamiliar with the horses would be able to identify each horse, if need be.
- In a care giver situation, an emergency backup person should be available. Telephone numbers and names should be provided.
In our circumstance, Kate has everything. We often house sit for Kate and her husband when they are out of town. We care for her horse and ours, as well. It is an excellent situation with mutual respect and trust. We are lucky and appreciative.